VCU is trying to tackle the obesity problem with a new program tailored to teens.
Goochland native 18-year-old Noelle Ware is heading to college 40 pounds lighter - a great way to start a new chapter in her life. She says eating healthier and exercising just wasn't working, so she got serious about her health and her weight.
"I get really excited and say yay my pants don't fit anymore," said Noelle.
It was no easy task for Noelle Ware to get to this point. She was frustrated with her weight and her health. Changing her eating habits and exercising just wasn't enough. That's why she came to VCU's Healthy Lifestyle Center to find out more about the gastric sleeve.
"It's not a quick fix solution. It's a big lifestyle change."
Dr. Edmond Wickham was part of the team that helped ware. She came to them months ago to talk about the procedure. 80-percent of the stomach is reduced making it the size of a banana. It decreases the amount ware eats and it also helps improve hormones that control appetite.
"So we are excited we have a program that is pediatric and adolescent focused," said Dr. Edmond Wickham – and endocrinologist with VCU. "We believe that weight loss surgery really should be done in the setting that really does have pediatric expertise."
Experts with the Children's Hospital of Richmond helped Ware along the way - making sure a healthy diet and exercise are always a part of her life.
"I'm really motivated to do things now because it's easier now," said Ware. "Before I wasn't really seeing results with my work so now that I'm seeing results. It's like I'm making progress now."
Ware says she lost 40 pounds - dropped four sizes - since she had the surgery two months ago. Ware is looking to shed at least another 60.
"When people say wow Noelle you've lost weight and I think yes I did," Ware added. "It seems like things are a lot easier now."
As exercising and resistance training become more like second nature. Ware hopes her health and weight will see the benefits.
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